Sexuality and Political Economy (ANTH 2614)




This graduate seminar explores the complex links between sexuality, capitalism, and power. Sexuality has long represented a central domain for the creation and contestation of subjects and sovereignties, labor and capital, relatedness and belonging, desire and development, security and violence. With the publication of Michel Foucault’s "The History of Sexuality" (1976), the role of modern forms of power that work to discipline subjects and regulate populations has become central to how scholars conceptualize sexuality. By comparison, however, the relation between sexuality, the capitalist economy, and the myriad forms of postcolonial sovereignties has only recently become the topic of rigorous analysis. In this seminar, we revisit classic works by Freud, Foucault, Lacan and Fanon as well as texts in feminist, queer and postcolonial theories in order to craft a conceptual vocabulary for understanding emerging configurations of sex and politics in late capitalism. We ask: Under what historical circumstances does sexuality become a marker of inclusion, exclusion or exceptionalism in relation to race, ethnicity, culture, and state politics? What are the relations between commodities, discourses of sexuality, and the erotic practices of concrete historical actors? And what do we learn about globalization when we think of sexuality as a central domain of economic production, social reproduction, and political belonging? 
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